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New Study Links Diet Soda Consumption to Increased Risk of Stroke

Posted on March 2, 2011

A new study presented at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference in February 2011 in Los Angeles showed that patients drinking one diet soda every day experienced a 61% higher risk of vascular events (stroke, heart attack, death) than those who reported drinking no soda.   Demetrius Lopes, endovascular neurosurgeon and Co-Director of the Rush Stroke Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago tells patients to consider this new data in developing healthy eating and living habits.  “This new data is interesting and should cause those who drink diet soda frequently or in large quantities to consider more healthy alternatives.  This is the first report identifying an association between stroke and diet soda consumption.  More research is needed to prove a direct cause and effect relationship between diet soda and stroke risk,” comments Dr. Lopes.

It is important to note that previous studies, however, have established a connection between the consumption of diet soda and the development of metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.   The link between metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes and stroke is clear and unquestionable.   Men with metabolic syndrome have a 78% greater risk of stroke, and women affected by metabolic syndrome have more than double the risk of stroke.  Metabolic syndrome is defined as the presence of at least three of five metabolic abnormalities, including:

  • Abdominal obesity (belly fat)
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • Low levels of HDL (‘good’ cholesterol)
  • High blood pressure

Many patients with metabolic syndrome progress on to diabetes.  Diabetics carry a 2-1/2 times greater risk of stroke than non-diabetics.

Patients with metabolic syndrome and diabetes are urged to be under the proper care of a physician.  Through a combination of healthy lifestyle modifications and appropriate medications, patients with elevated blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure can significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular complications, like heart attack and stroke.

If you have any questions for Dr. Lopes regarding the link between metabolic syndrome, diabetes and stroke risk, please respond in  the space provided below or email him at info@ChicagoStrokeMD.com.